If you’re working on electrical wiring, good strippers (not that kind!) can really save you some time. Southwire added two brand new products to its lineup for stripping wire. The new XTS-01 cable stripper is made for end and mid-span terminations up to 1000MCM or outside diameter sizes from 0.33″-1.284″. Both strippers work on THHN, XHHW, RHH, RHW, and USE jackets. The smaller Southwire XTS-02 wire strippers handle smaller wire from #6 all the way to 1/0. We happened to be running 1/0 wire to the PTR shop to give us 100A of service. For this job, the Southwire XT Mini stripper (XTS-02) seemed like the perfect match.
Before we talk about our experiences with the Southwire XT Mini stripper, it might be good to understand the principle behind how it works. For starters, there’s a replaceable concave blade that activate via a preset tensioning system to gradually cut back the wire shielding without actually touching or damaging the wire.
Why you do is squeeze the Southwire XTS-02 wire strippers using the middle hole. This opens up them up to receive the wire. You then line up the wire so that the shield is half way across, or under the midpoint of, the blade and then begin moving the cutter around the wire in a clockwise direction. Applying angular pressure into the jacket keeps the blade cutting and easing off (or using your other hand to stop the XTS-02) ceases the cut and leaves a nice, clean, beveled edge that tapers into your wire.
For smaller cable you just put the blade at the point where you want to cut the wire to and then run it around once to make the cut. Pull the XTS-02 off, and you remove the tool while stripping the wire.
Southwire XTS-02 Wire Strippers Features
- Spring loaded clamp
- Compatibility: Termination of THHN, XHHW 600V insulation types
- Blade: Replaceable precision curved
- Capacity: #6 AWG through 1/0
- Construction: Aluminum
Using the Southwire XT Mini Stripper
We used the Southwire XTS-02 Wire Strippers to strip back both ends of a 100 ft run of 2-phase 1/0 wire we buried to supply 100-amp power to the PTR Shop. We found the Southwire XT strippers were just as easy to use as when we recently saw the tool demoed. In fact, there’s actually very little to say—and perhaps that’s the best statement of all. It just works. There’s little effort needed, and the tool adjusts automatically to handle any gauge of wire within its recommended range. If you’re working with wire over 1/0 in size you’ll want to grab the Southwire XTS-01 strippers, but the XTS-02 strippers were perfectly suitable for the underground-rated 1/0 cables we were working with.
Compared to other cable strippers I’ve used, the Southwire XT series offers better leverage and superior ease of use. Many larger MCM cable strippers are end cable designs where you have to crank them around with the strength of your wrist. Others use a rotational handle for better ergonomics, but they slice the jacketing and require you to pull the shield off manually. The Southwire XT Mini Stripper combines the best of both and delivers a solid spiral cut that leaves your wire untouched and stripped to the perfect length. This isn’t a tool for non-Pros, however—the retail price point is around $124. For electricians, the cost could quickly be justified by the cumulative hours you shave off your work over the course of a year.